Opinion: Pandemic underscores need for California’s gig worker law
San Francisco Chronicle
When someone delivers your groceries or your dinner, do you call that person an essential worker or an essential contractor? This might sound like an odd question, but it matters because workers — or employees — are entitled to protections like paid sick leave and a minimum wage, but “contractors” are not. California’s Assembly Bill 5 went into a effect in January. The law stops companies from misclassifying their employees as independent contractors. As California grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the new law has illustrated how critical workplace protections are — particularly for those who are misclassified and treated like independent businesses when they are, in fact, employees. Employee status grants basic rights and benefits to workers that we have agreed to as a society, including overtime pay, unemployment insurance, health and safety protections, disability insurance, paid family leave and more. When employers misclassify their workers as independent contractors, they gain an unfair advantage against competitors and shift costs onto workers and taxpayers.